Inspiration is a fickle creature, and even the most prolific content marketers can struggle with idea generation.
If you’re looking for a much-needed boost to your content creativity, here are a few awesome resources you can turn to for help. These fantastic (and often overlooked!) tools will help you create engaging and exciting content—even when your inspiration is at a dangerously low level.
AdWords is best known as Google’s PPC campaign tool, but it’s also a veritable goldmine of potential blogging topics.
AdWords has a built-in keyword planner, which lets you generate keyword suggestions related to your products and services. You can then sort your ideas by both traffic and competition, uncovering popular keywords that aren’t already dominated by other brands.
You can add these ideas to a long-tail keyword tool like Ubersuggest. These tools scour the web, looking for popular variants of your chosen keyword. For example, I searched for content marketing and got:
content marketing agency
content marketing definition
content marketing certification
content marketing software
content marketing vs inbound marketing
content marketing agents
content marketing strategy
These results are just a fraction of the ideas generated, and each one is a potential blog post:
“What is Content Marketing? The Ultimate Definition”
“Comparing the Web’s Best Content Marketing Certifications”
“What’s the Difference between Inbound and Content Marketing?”
I’m an obsessive Stephen King fan, and his sage words of advice have always resonated with me:
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”
The best writers are also the most prolific readers. Even if fiction isn’t your thing, reading the latest blog posts from thought leaders, industry publications, and rival businesses will improve your skills and help inspiration flow.
Feedly is an RSS reader that allows you to compile your favorite blogs in a single feed. It creates a one-stop shop for the latest industry news, and the most popular blog posts amongst your peers. Whether you’re responding to a controversial opinion or elaborating on a short post, Feedly is a great tool for generating relevant content ideas.
3. Google Scholar
Value is the ultimate benchmark of content creation. One of the easiest ways to create genuinely valuable content is to problem-solve and create educational resources that tackle your audience’s biggest problems.
Google Scholar provides quick, easy, and free access to thousands of academic journals and papers (and also helped me survive college). While there’s no need to turn your next blog into a formal thesis, you can use it to find a few helpful studies to underpin your writing.
I recently wrote a series of posts on behavioral psychology, and by simply searching around my topic, I came across dozens of awesome studies and sources to reference. Citing academic work also works wonders for developing authority, making it easier for readers to buy into your suggestions.
If you want to a surefire way to create awesome content, look to the experts. Competitor analysis allows you to analyze the blogging strategies of rival businesses and uncover the tried-and-tested topics that resonated best with their target audience.
Quick Sprout reveals your competitors’ most popular blog posts by comparing social media shares, page views, and a host of other awesome metrics. You can then read these popular posts and learn from the tone, topic, and approach used by your rivals—possibly even using their ideas to fuel your own creativity.